HomeRoast Digest


Topic: esmeralda gesha auction notes (26 msgs / 678 lines)
1) From: Tom & Maria - Sweet Maria's Coffee
Actually, we were with Stumptown on batch 2 (my favorite for the flat 
beans) and batch 3, the Peaberry. We have  150 Lbs of the Batch 2 ( a 
mere 105 and change paid per Lb!) and 150 Lbs of Batch 3 Peaberry. 
Really, I can hardly argue for the sense in all this, except that 
coffee priced this way means about a $5 cup, and that #2 is really 
really fantastic coffee. My favorite non-ridiculous price was Batch 
10, which for those who read the notes might realize, is a blend of 
"North side of the creek" where #2 is from, and South side of the 
creek, and is also late harvest. I thought batches 8,9 and 10 were 
all nice, but 10 was a little more delicate and nuanced for me. Lots 
5, 6 and 7 were second tier for me, but oddly just 5 sold for a lot 
less than others. In fact, mike was brilliant to get some for the 
cafe! $6/Lb Gesha! we bought 4 lots - no, it doesnt run side-by-side 
with batch 2 or 3 or 10, but put in in a blind cupping with 9 other 
centrals and it will win most every time! so i guess this means we 
will have sub $10/lb esmeralda, some around $15/lb. and then ... geez 
... what did i get myself into???
what we will probably do is use our nitrogen-gas-flush vacuum package 
machine, which is coming in a week, to re-pack the batch 2 and 3 into 
small single-roast packets, that can be preserved for special 
occasions, such as next christmas and such. after export charges and 
shipping, i think we will have a modest markup so we will need to 
sell the batch 2 for something like $60 per half pound. if anyone has 
ideas for how i sell coffee that is THAT expensive, I am listening!
Here's the final results: http://auction.stoneworks.com/includes/es2008/final_results.htmltom
<Snip>
--
                   "Great coffee comes from tiny roasters"
            Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting  -  Tom & Maria
                      http://www.sweetmarias.com                Thompson Owen george_at_sweetmarias.com
     Sweet Maria's Coffee - 1115 21st Street, Oakland, CA 94607 - USA
             phone/fax: 888 876 5917 - tom_at_sweetmarias.com
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2) From: Coffee
I'm going to buy some of each... I think it's great that Tom can get  
us coffees that you can't get anywhere else in the world. Compared to  
a co-worker of mine who buys wine, this stuff is cheap.
-Peter
On May 23, 2008, at 2:00 PM, Tom & Maria - Sweet Maria's Coffee wrote:
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3) From: Rich
And the coffee does not make your head hurt the next morning.
Coffee wrote:
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4) From: miKe mcKoffee
<Snip>
<Snip>
<Snip>
Now I'm definitely drooling! Some day...
Pacific Northwest Gathering VIhttp://www.mcKonaKoffee.comURL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must">http://home.comcast.net/~mckona/PNWGVI.htmKona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffeehttp://www.mcKonaKoffee.comURL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must
first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal enlightenment
found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone before.
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5) From: Barry Luterman
The bottom line now is when do you expect the lot to come in?
On Fri, May 23, 2008 at 3:26 PM, miKe mcKoffee  wrote:
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6) From: Derek Bradford
Looking at the top 4 lots that Stumptown won, I see that Bidder 959 tried
awfully hard to win, but they didn't enter the auctions until the coffees
crossed the $50/lb mark.  To me, it seems like someone doing that is just
buying it for the publicity; otherwise they would have started bidding right
away.  I wonder who it was?
--Derek
On Sat, May 24, 2008 at 10:27 AM, Barry Luterman 
wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
Every path but your own is the path of fate. --Thoreau
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7) From: Justin Marquez
It makes your head kinda hurt if you DON'T drink some coffee in the morning.
Safe Journeys and Sweet Music
Justin Marquez (CYPRESS, TX)
On Fri, May 23, 2008 at 5:48 PM, Rich  wrote:
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8) From: Bill
I agree with Barry... I'm curious when the stuff is coming in!  And I'm also
curious like Tom about how he's gonna sell $60 coffee...  Although I will be
interested...  Must be amazing stuff.bill in wyo
On Fri, May 23, 2008 at 7:27 PM, Barry Luterman  wrote:
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9) From: Jamie Dolan
<Snip>
Thoughts...
You make sure that you market it like the premium, "Limited
Availability" product that it is.  You want to make sure people know
how special the coffee is and how limited the demand is.  It really
depends on how much effort you want to put into marketing it.  You
could mark it up much higher and sell it as a highly exclusive
product.  You may want to offer it "custom roasted, by an award
winning roaster" as well so you can market to a wider audience.
This would be a perfect time for a joint venture with other business
that have high end clientele.  Large high end wine shops are the first
thing that come to mind, making some kind of deal with them to market
to there best customers would be one option.  If you did that, you
would want to send a letter to there customer, from them, describing
the offer.
Exclusive golf courses / country clubs might be another option, you
will get the best results from a direct marketing approach as
described above.
Otherwise, or in addition to the above, creating a special web page to
sell the coffee would be ideal.  Put to use your already great notes
about the coffee along with several other paragraphs that tell a story
about the coffee, where it from, how it got here, how exclusive it is,
why it is so exclusive, why they want it, how to buy it, buy it NOW!.
The question boils down to if you want to take the time and effort
required to sell some premium coffee as a "luxury item" or if you want
to just try and sell it to the average home roaster that wants to
splurge.  If your going to sell it as a "luxury item" it's going to
take some work,  but then again if you do the work to sell it as a
luxury time, your not going to be selling it with only a "modest
markup", you going to sell it with a "luxury markup".
I've been wanting to reply to you earlier, but this was the first
chance I got to sit down and write some thoughts.  These are my
2:00a.m. - caffeine wore off long ago -  thoughts, I hope your able to
follow them.
Regards;
Jamie Dolan
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10) From: sci
We are all salivating at the prospect of getting our greedy little paws on
it. $60/half # is steep, but hey, it's like the beer tag line used to say
"Go for the gusto, you only go around once in life" (I'm seriously dating
myself here). We'll acquire serious bragging rights and maybe a few CSA
points. But, I probably won't tell anybody I paid that much for it.
Ivan
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11) From: Seth Grandeau
FWIW, Stumptown sells their roasted premium gesha for $100 / half pound.
On 5/24/08, sci  wrote:
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12) From: miKe mcKoffee
If Tom sells his top Lot's (Lot's split with Stumptown) for $60 1/2LB
that'll be not at a modest mark-up but more like barely at his acquisition
cost plus cost of re-packaging etc. Remember the stuff auctioned for
$105.25LB, the price IF you happened to pick it up at the Finca in Panama.
That doesn't include the costs to get it here. He'd be doing this more as a
Goodwill Gift to his customers not a business transaction for profit.
Once it hits the cart I've no doubt it all be gone within a month and
wouldn't be surprised if it sold out in a week or less. Highly doubt it'll
take any extraordinary marketing measures by Tom. I've seen this type of
offering by Tom sold out BEFORE it even showed up on the home page once he
announced it available on List with a URl. (A small start-up Indie like me
on the other hand is another matter...)
When will it arrive? Unknown. Haven't even been notified yet on details to
finalize/pay for the auction commits.
Pacific Northwest Gathering VIhttp://www.mcKonaKoffee.comURL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must">http://home.comcast.net/~mckona/PNWGVI.htmKona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffeehttp://www.mcKonaKoffee.comURL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must
first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal enlightenment
found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone before.
Sweet Maria's List - Searchable Archiveshttp://themeyers.org/HomeRoast/
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13) From: Coffee
I agree with miKe. I certainly don't know Tom's business, but $60/half  
pound seems like too small a markup.
-Peter
On May 24, 2008, at 6:21 AM, miKe mcKoffee wrote:
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14) From: Ira
At 11:45 PM 5/23/2008, you wrote:
<Snip>
It's been done on a site by RMiguel or something like that. At first 
it was supposed to be really exclusive but now it seems he'll sell it 
to anyone and often gives discounts to HB members.  There is a market 
for $100/pound coffee, but it's not a big one yet. Part of the issue 
as I see it, especially for home roasters is $60 worth is not enough 
to figure out how to roast or brew it the best.
Ira
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15) From: Les
Tom,
Thanks for going out on the limb!  However, my batch size is one pound!  The
way I look at this is, I am not simply supporting Sweet Marias, but I am
supporting all of the specialty growers.  I can only imagine the excitement
in Panama over this auction.  The motivation for farmers and processors to
continue to raise the bar is worth buying a pound or two of this coffee let
alone the taste is going to be outstanding.  I would also look at doing a
special Probat offering for those who are afraid to roast something this
expensive.  I am sure there are some who would be willing to buy a half
pound roasted that are not willing to risk blowing an expensive coffee by
roasting it themselves.
Les
On 5/23/08, Tom & Maria - Sweet Maria's Coffee 
wrote:
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16) From: Bill
Les,
great spin.  hope you don't mind me calling it spin, but for ME it would be
spin... "no, I didn't buy this coffee because it's supposed to be phenomenal
and I want to taste it... No, I bought it to support specialty coffee
producers in Panama.  I'm not selfish, I'm a humanitarian!"  And I'm not
saying that for anyone but myself...  I would buy it because it was unique
and good.  And I'd feel good that it is helping an important economic link
in another land.  But mainly for me...
bill in wyo
On Sat, May 24, 2008 at 1:21 PM, Les  wrote:
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17) From: Les
Bill,
I wouldn't buy it if it wasn't good!  You really need to experience some of
the "junk" that is out there.  I have been homeroasting for 23 years and you
would be stunned at some of the stuff that is sold.  I didn't mean what I
said as spin, but the stark reality that growers and processors need to be
encouraged to do their best.  I got some stuff from Kenya once that was
great coffee once I hand sorted and tossed 60-70% of it away.  This was pre
Sweet Marias.  In the early days, sorting was a part of homeroasting.
Les
On 5/24/08, Bill  wrote:
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18) From: Bill
I love the remeniscenses of you (forgive me for this!) "old timers" on the
list.  And I mean it...because I truly don't know how rough it was to get
great  coffee.  I DO know that I'm totally spoiled by a place like Sweet
Marias!  You started homeroasting when I was 5 years old...  which is why I
have so much to learn!
And I didn't mean that you were spinning it, but that I would spin it, by
claiming to be a humanitarian when I was just excited to get a great cup of
coffee...
But you're right.  I've had a few subpar cups of coffee in the last 16
months.  Only a few.  Mainly it's been great.  I'm truly blessed to enjoy
this kind of coffee every day.
bill in wyo
On Sat, May 24, 2008 at 2:34 PM, Les  wrote:
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19) From: Dean De Crisce
An excellent idea...i, for one would buy the roasted coffee...i'd be afraid that I would screw it up.
Dean De Crisce
Sent from a Treo phone.

20) From: Zara Haimo
<Snip>
A half pound is a single roast in a HotTop which is not enough to learn 
anything about how to roast it best.  For this bean, I'd be happy to defer 
to Tom's skill and buy a half pound that he has roasted instead of greens.
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21) From: Allon Stern
On May 27, 2008, at 6:45 PM, Zara Haimo wrote:
<Snip>
On May 23, 2008, at 5:00 PM, Tom & Maria - Sweet Maria's Coffee wrote:
<Snip>
Well, I think that selling it green is one option for the  
adventurous, and should be an available one.
Another option takes a little work on your part, Tom, but might make  
it an easier sell for those who don't think they could do it justice  
with limited equipment and experience -
How about selling by the 1/2 lb, and storing it for up to 1 year,  
roasting on demand and shipping for consumption on the date of the  
buyer's choosing (with some appropriate lead time). This would allow  
the consumer to plan a special coffee for a special event, while not  
having to worry about the supplier running out before then, or risk  
ruining it when roasting it themselves, or with improper storage for  
greens.
Obviously there would be some cost involved, which would be part of  
the price.
But hey, if you're spending that much for a 1/2 lb. of coffee, it  
ought to be worth it, right? You asked for ideas........
(Oh, and you may want to reserve the right to refund the money in  
case of damage to the beans....I'd imagine you have some insurance on  
your business, I wonder if a rider would be in order? And would have  
to keep a little bit reserved just in case lightning struck while  
roasting and you munged it up)
Hey, ideas are cheap, right?
-
allon
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22) From: Jamie Dolan
<Snip>
I'm sure tom never gets a roast wrong, or accidentally bring it to
french or worse.
;-)
Jamie
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23) From: Ed Needham
31 years ago, when I started homeroasting, the only place I knew that had 
green, unroasted coffee was a small coffeehouse/roaster in Bloomington, 
Indiana.  With no email back then, I would have to phone the place and leave 
a  message with a hurried server who would promise to get it to the owner, 
who was the only person who could figure out how to price green to someone. 
I seemed to be their only green customer.  When I told them I roasted at 
home, they made sounds as if they were talking to a Martian.  After placing 
the call, I would wait, and wait and call back and find out the message 
didn't get through, and I'd try again.  Eventually, I could get a few pounds 
of a 'Colombian', or a 'Costa Rican', 'Guatemalan', 'Kenyan', 'Sumatran' or 
'Mocha Java'.  That was about it.  No estate coffees, no regional 
designations within the various countries, no idea what the cultivar was. 
Today, with web sites on the plantations, and internet interconnectedness 
out the wazzoo, we are truly spoiled.  It's a good time to be roasting 
coffee.
*********************
Ed Needham
"to absurdity and beyond!"http://www.homeroaster.com*********************

24) From: Bill
I repeat what I said: I love your reminiscences...  I have a local roaster
(50 miles away) that sells sub-par origins.. only a small portion of what
you dealt with.  I still love those stories of the days of time gone bye...
bill in wyo
born in 79 back when ed was in the dark ages...
On Mon, Jun 2, 2008 at 10:41 PM, Ed Needham  wrote:
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25) From: Allon Stern
On Jun 3, 2008, at 12:41 AM, Ed Needham wrote:
<Snip>
You still get about that much detail from most purveyors of green  
coffees.
Let's compare some coffee reviews in their entirety.....
Green purveyor #1:
"Sumatra Mandheling green coffee beans. This is a low acid, very full- 
bodied coffee beans. This varietal is especially suitable for those  
sensitive to the higher acidity in many coffees beans. Having some  
chocolate notes and a slight earthiness."
"Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Green Coffee Beans. Its very distinctive  
floral bouquet, rich body, a pleasingly fragrant aroma, with a smooth  
mellowness that's unique unto itself."
Green purveyor #2:
"1 lb. bag. Sumatran Manhelding grade 1 from Indonesia is a coffee  
with lots of body and a bold taste. The person who likes dark  
chocolate, dark beer, and is a smoked food lover will appreciate this  
smooth coffee. For larger bags add the appropriate amount below."
"This coffee from the Harrar Horse region is known as the birthplace  
of coffee, and this particular Harrar is some of the best from that  
region. For larger bags add the appropriate amount below"
Green purveyor #3:
"Finding a really good Grade One Mandheling is tough, at the same  
time that there is an abundance of this coffee at every coffee  
warehouse, and on every broker's list. It's easy for anyone to get a  
bag of skunky old Mandheling. The problem arises when you want really  
good Mandheling. Buy too early in the crop cycle and you will get a  
melange of early new crop (not good ...low grown) and past crop  
coffee (even worse). You have to look at a lot ... a LOT... of  
samples, and cup them hard, to find a lot that is true to the classic  
Mandheling cup. Then again, you need to know what that cup is  
supposed to be! 15 years ago I remember roasting Mandhelings that  
reall had the classic cup character that defined the origin ...back  
when Specialty coffee was itself being defined in the U.S. First off,  
it actually lo oks like a Grade One, and when I screen it in my lab  
and count the defects, it actually grades as one. This might sound  
idiotic, but it is the first lot of the year that I evaluated that  
read Grade 1 on the bag and actually was Grade 1! (Grading is done by  
cup defect in Sumatra, not appearance, which only partially explains  
the disconnected logic here). Another factor that makes our Sumatra  
Classic special is the fact that it comes from old-growth Sumatra  
Typica trees and one specific location, not pooled from coffees in  
various regions, and not of mixed cultivars. Anyway, this lot has  
nice preparation with much less percentage of defects than we have  
seen in recent seasons. Yes, it has that aggressive, woody, wet-earth  
character. But it also has a sweetness, mild fruitiness, a caramel  
roast taste that has a creamy, chocolate dimension to it as well. The  
finish goes toward the bittersweet, with a pungent (peppery spice)  
quality emerging, reminding you of the deep, heavy-handed cup  
character that epitomizes Sumatra. It has a bit of all the defining  
Sumatra flavors wrapped together in one coffee, and maintains a  
balance between them. Most people might taste this and just say,  
"Boy, that's nice Sumatra". That's fine, that's perfect in fact.  
Sumatra really doesn't have to draw that luch attention to itself. I  
really enjoy the depth and balance of this cup, qualities that I  
haven't enjoyed this much in a Grade One Mandheling for while.
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium-Bold intensity / Rustic sweets,  
herbal and sweet hay accents
Roast: Full City+. Sumatra can be roasted on either side of 2nd  
crack. It works great for darker roasts and blends too. Sumatra  
appears lighter to the eye than the actual degree of roast, when  
compared to other coffees visually. People tend to prefer more roast  
on this coffee, but I enjoy it at a City+ stage (properly rested for  
24 hours) where the surface is dry looking and a bit variegated  
(unsmooth and patchy color).
Compare to: As the name implies, classic Mandheling Sumatras!
"
"Harar is the wild cousin of Ethiopian coffee, from the far Eastern  
regions, from the ancient city, from a culture distinct from the  
Southern mountains and Sidamo/Yirgacheffe, from the Western  
birthplace of coffee in Kaffa area, Limmu, Ghimbi, Djimmah. Harar is  
alone in terms of geography, culture, and (sometimes) cup quality.  
Harar is a dry-processed coffee, the simple, rustic method where the  
ripe red coffee cherry is picked from the tree and laid in the sun to  
dry. It turns raisin-brown, then dries so the hard shell of fruit  
skin, mucilage and parchment shell can be torn from the green seed in  
one step. The result is wild cup flavors, fruited, chocolate, spice,  
thick body. But since it is such a crude process, their is little  
mechanized interventions in terms of quality control; no machine  
screening, density sorting, electronic color sorting. Everything is  
done with the eye and the hand, as coffee is winnowed in baskets,  
under-ripes, broken beans, black beans, fermented beans, all removed  
visually in countless hours of work. It's a human-sorting system that  
makes up in character what it lacks in perfection. So Harar is a  
crapshoot too. Each roast has some light "quaker" beans in it, each  
batch roasts a little different, cups out with different flavors.  
It's the nature of the type. But in recent years the quality has been  
uniformily bad, mostly due to changing weather patterns. I am  
thrilled to say that Harar is back to it's stellar form this year  
though. The dry fragrance is heavily fruited, with distinct mango and  
tamarind scents. The wet aromatics are spicy, have honey-dipped fruit  
character, fresh ginger, and clove in the FC roast range. The light  
City to City+ roasts taste like spiced apricot tea and peach  
preserves. There's always that slight rustic funk to the fruited  
qualities of Harar. It has good body, and finishes with a spicy  
cinnamon note. Try to keep the roasts light for maximum bright fruit  
character. The coffee may not look pretty at these lighter roasts,  
but it is more lively. At FC the coffee has more rustic chocolate  
character, a slightly gamey note, and a touch of leather. You can  
coax a blueberry note from the cup at C+/FC roast.
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium-Bold intensity / Sweet candy fruit  
notes, body, spice.
Roast: The sweet spot here is at Full City. The fruited notes are  
muted a bit at this roast stage, but they behave a nice jammy  
sweetness. City+ has less body and balance, but higher-toned fruits.  
Remember, this is dry-processed natural Harar, so expect some  
unevenness in roast color, and 1-2 beans that "resist the roast" and  
should be culled out.
Compare to: A great dry-processed Harar cup, with solid fruited sweet  
notes. It's a rustic cup, a la Yemen dry-processed and such."
Wild guess which one I want to be buying my coffees from :)
-
allon
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26) From: Floyd Lozano
#2, right?  I mean who wants to read through all that! ;)
-F
On Tue, Jun 3, 2008 at 12:23 PM, Allon Stern  wrote:
<Snip>
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